Wednesday, September 20, 2006
[posted in full Thu ~2:54a]
In 25 words or less: A comeback and some shining moments from unlikely sources. It may be meaningless, but it was fun to watch.
This one featured Jarrod Washburn going up against Edinson Volquez. I didn't exactly look forward to the game, knowing that Washburn is an unabashed flyball pitcher and what was formerly known as The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas is a launching pad. The Mariners had lost four of their last six and six of nine coming into this game. They wanted to win this game to give themselves a chance to win the series, which would be nice after they had just split a four-game series in Kansas City. As much as I bash the Rangers for going away from the red-colored look on their uniforms (from their playoff years, a look since ripped off almost wholesale by the Angels), the road vests really aren't that bad. They're the ones with "TEXAS" across the front and the number in the lower right. What I can't stand are the home vests with the "T" way high on the right side on the front and the number way down low on the left. That's a lack of balance, people. The Colorado Rockies telepathically heeded my hint on some of their uniforms and evened out the numbers and the interlocking "CR" logo and now they look classy. Until changes are made, there are teams like the Rangers and Indians that troll around with these horribly unbalanced uniforms.
Ichiro grounded out to short. Adrian Beltre got ahead 3-0 before bouncing a full-count pitch softly up the middle, but Young moved over to prevent the base hit, and he made the throw to first. Kenji Johjima crushed a 3-1 pitch two-thirds of the way up the leftfield seats, and the ball bounced high off a seat and toward the back row.
»» MARINERS 1, RANGERS 0
Raul Ibañez knocked a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Richie Sexson just got under one, flying out a mile high to center. Volquez threw 23 pitches.
Gary Matthews, Jr. had the hitters' counts before cranking a full-count pitch eight rows into the leftfield seats above the in-wall scoreboard.
»» RANGERS 1, MARINERS 1
Michael Young walked on four pitches, and Washburn appeared to have trouble with the mound on ball three, coming off a bit awkwardly. Mark Teixeira flew out to Snelling in rightcenter. Carlos Lee watched the first pitch as Young got a monster jump and stole second easily. Lee rolled a 2-2 pitch to second, moving Young to third. Mark DeRosa walked on a full-count low fastball. Pitching coach Rafael Chaves visited the mound. Hank Blalock fell behind 0-2 before bouncing a 1-2 pitch through the left side (and the shift) for a single to easily score DeRosa.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 1
Rod Barajas was behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 fastball down over the outside corner. Washburn threw 35 pitches.
Ben Broussard flew out to left on the second pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt flew out to right on the second pitch. Chris Snelling got ahead 2-0 and walked on a full-count pitch up and away. Willie Bloomquist was up 2-0 and semi-tomahawked a 2-2 pitch into center for a single to move Snelling to second. Ichiro had the hitters' counts before poking a 3-1 pitch through the right side to score Snelling and move Bloomquist to third.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 2
Beltre took a 2-0 pitch and Ichiro took off and stole his 34th straight base. Beltre walked on four pitches to load the bases. Johjima flew out to Teixeira in foul ground on the right side. Volquez threw 28 pitches and had 51 through two.
Ian Kinsler worked an 0-2 count full before hitting a low liner to a running Ibañez in left. Nelson Cruz grounded hard to second on the first pitch. Matthews worked a 1-2 count full before grounding back to the mound off of a leg of Washburn and toward the third-base line, where Washburn raced over in pursuit but had no play (single). Young bounced an 0-2 pitch slowly to Betancourt charging in from short. Washburn threw 16 pitches and had 51 through two.
Ibañez lined out to right on a 1-2 pitch. Sexson was up 2-0 before walking on a full count. Broussard gave the ball a good ride and flew out to Matthews just short of the centerfield track. Betancourt bounced to short for a 6-4 force on Sexson. Volquez threw 16 pitches and had 67 through three.
Teixeira was ahead 3-0 and obliterated a full-count pitch, blasting it near where Jose Canseco reached the then-Target advertisement in leftcenter years ago.
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 2
Lee had the hitters' counts before flying out to left on a 3-1 pitch. DeRosa fell behind 0-2 and fouled off a 1-2 pitch, and Washburn had trouble after the follow-through (he'd caught a spike on the previous pitch), coming up a bit lame and favoring his right calf. The training staff attended to Washburn, who then left the game for what was later revealed to be a strained right calf.
Cesar Jimenez came in for Washburn and inherited the 1-2 count. DeRosa doubled off the leftfield scoreboard/wall on the 2-2 pitch. Blalock worked a 1-2 count full and completely avoided the shift by reaching down and lofting a fly ball into the third row of seats in rightfield for his first homer since August 21st.
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 2
Barajas flew out to Sexson near the first-base camera well on a 2-0 pitch. Kinsler golfed the first pitch just barely over the leftfield wall near the corner for a homer.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 2
Cruz flew out to shallow center on a 2-2 pitch. Jimenez threw 18 pitches.
Washburn's line: 2 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 66 pitches (38 strikes)
Snelling was down 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 low slider. Bloomquist was up 2-0 before wedging a single into shallow center. Ichiro slashed a single into center with Bloomquist on the run from first, and the latter got to third. Beltre took a second pitch low and away, and Ichiro stole second easily as the throw was wide of second, getting into center as Ichiro moved to third. Beltre grounded out to third, scoring Ichiro.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 3
Johjima popped to Teixeira near the first-base bag. Volquez threw 17 pitches and had 84 through four.
Matthews knocked the second pitch into left for a single. Young grounded to the left side, where Beltre quickly started a 5-4-3 double play. Teixeira flew out high to center on the second pitch.
Jimenez' line: 1 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 26 pitches (15 strikes)
Ibañez poked the second pitch past a diving Teixeira into rightfield for a single. Sexson grounded a 2-2 pitch hard to DeRosa behind the bag at third, whose throw to first was barely beat by Sexson as Ibañez moved to second.
John Rheinecker came in for Volquez. Eduardo Perez, hitting for Broussard, took a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner. Betancourt rolled a 2-0 pitch up the middle for a single that scored Ibañez and moved Sexson to second.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 5
Snelling grounded to second for a 4-6 fielder's choice as Sexson moved to third. Bloomquist was ahead 3-1 and popped out to Cruz in shallow right.
Volquez' line: 4 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 8 hits, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, 91 pitches (49 strikes)
Rheinecker's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
Emiliano Fruto came in for Jimenez. Lee walked on four pitches. DeRosa took an 0-2 pitch way outside, and it got away from Johjima, enabling Lee to scoot to second. DeRosa took a 1-2 breaking ball for strike three. Blalock rolled out to second as Lee moved to third. Barajas was ahead 2-0 and looped a full-count pitch into right for a single to score Lee.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 5
Kinsler was ahead 2-0 and tapped back to the mound. Fruto threw 24 pitches.
Josh Rupe came in for Rheinecker. Ichiro flew out lazily to center on a 2-2 pitch. Beltre lined out to center on an 0-2 pitch. Johjima stung a 1-2 pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Ibañez bounced the second pitch to first, but Teixeira had it go off his foot and roll away (error), and the Rangers had no play as Johjima moved to third. Sexson was ahead 3-0 and walked on a full-count, the eighth pitch of the at-bat, to load the bases. Perez bounced a 2-2 pitch to third.
Rupe's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 28 pitches (19 strikes)
Cruz whiffed on a 1-2 breaking ball in the dirt and lost the grip on his bat, nearly taking out a police officer down the third-base line.
Matthews rolled a 1-2 pitch past the mound, where Bloomquist charged and barely got the out at first on the speedy Matthews.
Young popped a 2-0 pitch to Snelling near the rightfield corner. Fruto threw 11 pitches and had 35 total.
Frank Francisco came in for Rupe. Betancourt popped to Barajas a few feet from the plate. Snelling rolled to first on a full count. Bloomquist dumped the second pitch into the rightfield corner for a double. Ichiro rolled to first on the second pitch.
Francisco's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13 pitches (8 strikes)
fell behind 0-2 and tapped a 1-2 swinging bunt in front of the plate, and Fruto got to it and threw in time to first. Lee bounced to short on the second pitch. DeRosa whiffed on a nice 2-2 breaking ball off the plate away.
Fruto's line: 3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 48 pitches (29 strikes)
Wes Littleton came in for Francisco. Beltre fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 pitch away. Johjima flew out to center on the first pitch. Ibañez grounded hard to the left-side hole, where Young moved over to make the play, but the ball went off the heel of his glove and rolled away (scored a single). Sexson tapped the second pitch back to the mound.
Littleton's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 10 pitches (9 strikes)
George Sherrill came in for Fruto. Blalock fell behind 0-2 and whiffed on a 1-2 fastball away.
Jon Huber came in for Sherrill. Barajas rolled slowly toward third, where Beltre charged and did the barehand throw thing, and Barajas was out by a mile since he runs like a catcher. Kinsler bounced out to third. Huber threw four pitches.
Sherrill's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 4 pitches (3 strikes)
Akinori Otsuka came in for Littleton. Greg Dobbs, hitting for Perez, grounded back to the mound, where Otsuka got a glove on it and gathered himself to throw to first, but the throw was shotputted and bounced past Teixeira into foul ground (error), allowing Dobbs to scurry all the way to third. Betancourt whiffed on a full-count pitch in the dirt, the tenth pitch of the at-bat. Snelling worked a 1-2 count full before taking a breaking ball that must have caught the outside corner. Bloomquist bounced a 1-2 pitch through the left side for a single, scoring Johjima.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 6
Ichiro took the second pitch in the dirt as Bloomquist stole second. Ichiro was ahead 2-0 and ripped a single past Kinsler and into center to score Bloomquist. Yes, that's Ichiro hitting with a runner in scoring position. Amazing.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 7
Beltre blistered the second pitch toward the leftfield corner for a hard single, moving Ichiro to second. Johjima rolled the first pitch to short, where Young shoveled to second for the force on Beltre.
Otsuka's line: 1 inning, 2 runs (unearned), 3 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 30 pitches (21 strikes)
Cruz popped a 3-1 pitch to Snelling in shallow right. Matthews grounded hard to first. Young rolled out to short.
Huber's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
CJ Wilson came in for Otsuka. Ibañez whiffed on a 2-2 high fastball. Sexson walked on a full-count breaking ball down and in. Mike Morse, hitting for Dobbs, knocked an 0-2 pitch through the right side for a single, moving Sexson to second. Jose Lopez came in to run for Sexson. Betancourt smacked the second pitch hard to first, where Teixeira knocked the grounder down, picked it up, and ran to the first-base bag as Lopez and Morse moved to third and second. Adam Jones was announced as the pinch-hitter for Snelling.
Joaquin Benoit came in for Wilson. Jones rolled the first pitch past the mound and up the middle for a single to score Lopez and Morse. Mucho confidence for the young'un. Nice job.
»» MARINERS 9, RANGERS 7
Bloomquist split his bat and dumped the second pitch into shallow rightcenter for a single, moving Jones to third. Ichiro fell behind 0-2 and flew out to left on a 2-2 pitch. Benoit threw ten pitches.
Wilson's line: 2/3 inning, 2 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
Benoit's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 10 pitches (7 strikes)
JJ Putz came in for Huber. Teixeira fell behind 0-2 and bounced a 2-2 pitch to second. Eric Young, hitting for Hairston, chopped high along the third-base line, where Putz came off the mound to field it, then threw wide of first and into foul ground, enabling Young to get to second. DeRosa bounced the second pitch to first, moving Young to third. Blalock whiffed brutally on a high 0-2 fastball.
Putz' line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
Gameball: Willie Bloomquist.
Well, my hands are pretty much tied here. Bloomquist went 4-for-4 on September 3rd, and I said he'd never probably never go 4-for-4 again. He wasn't 4-for-4 at any point in this game (he flew out to end the fifth in his third at-bat), so in a way I'm still right. Of course, the reason I'm tossing the gameball his way is that generally when you stick Bloomquist into the ninth slot in the lineup for a spot start to give Jose Lopez some rest, you don't expect to get a 5-for-6 night with a double and an RBI. The RBI single was a big one as it cut the Mariners' deficit to 7-6 with two outs in the top of the ninth. Ichiro was the next hitter and tied the game with a single. As much as I hate to admit it, it's nights like these that keep Bloomquist in a Mariner uniform. I don't necessarily like that fact, but I can't argue with the results when they come up like this. It doesn't happen every night he's out there, sure, but when it does, it's great. When he's not hitting, I can't get on him too much about his defense because he's passable there and isn't horrific.
Goat: Cesar Jimenez.
Along with Francisco Cruceta, I'm hoping Jimenez is impressing Rafael Chaves and Mike Hargrove with his stuff in some of the bullpen sessions, because if they base their opinions mainly on what's happening during the games, then these two guys aren't doing too well. Granted, Jimenez had to enter the game in a bit of a rush, what with Jarrod Washburn having left the game with the strained right calf. Jimenez inherited the 1-2 count on Mark DeRosa and yielded a ringing double, and two runs crossed the plate before he could get two outs to end the third inning. If there's a positive in all this, it's that Jimenez faced the minimum three hitters in the fourth and had a double play turned behind him. So it's not all horrible. If Hargrove would have pulled him after the third inning, then there wouldn't be many positives, but the fourth gives something to build from. Out of the call-ups, I think Ryan Feierabend and Jon Huber have impressed the most. Though he was called up a bit earlier than the main group of minor-leaguers, Eric O'Flaherty also seems to fit as a semi-serviceable lefty in the bullpen.
Yr W-L Pct GB Stk
2001 107-44 .709 -- W1
2002 87-64 .576 20 W3
2003 86-65 .570 21 L3
2000 85-66 .563 22 W7
2006 72-79 .477 35 W1
2005 65-86 .430 42 L1
2004 57-94 .377 50 W1
Baek. Tejeda. Tonight.